Drew Brees is a game changer. And Eli Manning isn't. At least that's the way things looked today in New Orleans. The Giants have better find another gear or else they simply aren't in the elite category in this year's NFL campaign.
While Brees was able to pick apart the Giants secondary with pinpont accuracy, Manning, in many key spots early, was unable to find his receivers within the swarming Saints secondary. Most notably, Manning seemed rushed in the first quarter overthrowing a wide open Steve Smith who had an open lane to the endzone. That touchdown would have stemmed the tide of the game-opening 20-3 beatdown from which the Giants could not recover.
Eli finished off his lack of precision in the passing game at the end of the first half by coughing up the ball while getting sacked. As Reggie Bush pranced into the endzone a couple of plays later with a 34-17 Saints lead, the Giants had to be sensing that there was absolutely no way that Eli would be leading them to a comeback victory in the second half.
Suddenly, the ivory tower that was the Giants 5-0 record has come crashing down. “Welcome to a real NFL team New York” is how CBS's Boomer Esiason put it, in reference to the Giants victories over cupcakes in previous weeks. Whether Eli, and the Giants secondary, (which got spun around all day by the Saint receivers and thoroughly torched by Brees) can find another gear this season is unclear.
In the big picture, its just one road loss to a good team, not a disaster in and of itself. The Giants have taken a punch. What will be the personality and attitude of the Giants team that gets up from the canvas to face Arizona next week? Seems like that answer will say a lot about what the Giants can do with rest of their season.
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Written by Mark Reichman